Antisoma plc reported a Phase II trial of ASA404 in recurrent, platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer failed to meet its endpoints.

The London-based company, which partnered the program with Novartis AG in April, said that based on the Phase II data, "development in ovarian cancer will not be a priority." ASA404 (DMXAA, formerly AS1404) is a small-molecule vascular disrupting agent designed to target blood vessels that nourish tumors.

The trial compared data from 37 patients receiving ASA404 plus carboplatin and paclitaxel to 38 patients receiving the chemotherapy regimen alone. There was no advantage in median time to tumor progression in the ASA404 arm, while one-year survival rates were 74 percent for the ASA404 arm vs. 92 percent for the control arm.

Antisoma has been testing ASA404 in several cancer types and previously reported a five-month increase in median survival when the drug was added to chemotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer. It said Novartis plans to start enrolling patients in a Phase III trial in that indication in early 2008, and to explore the potential of the compound in other solid tumors.

Antisoma got $75 million up front in the licensing deal with Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis, and would get $25 million more when Phase III lung cancer trials start. Antisoma could get up to $890 million in milestone payments in the deal, as well as royalties on sales. (See BioWorld Today, April 20, 2007.)

Antisoma's stock (LSE:ASM) fell 6.50 pence Thursday, or 14.9 percent, to close at 37 pence.